Cleaning Faucet Aerators And Showerheads

Is the water from your tap coming out slow? Does it feel like your showerhead only has five tiny streams coming out?

In West Texas our water is quite hard. Which is to say it’s high in mineral content. One place this shows up is a decrease in water flow. And the first thing to check is the aerators.

The aerator is attached to the end of your faucet. Its purpose is to mix water and air. Why mix air into the water? You’ll see why when you run the faucet without the aerator. Without it, the water splashes. Aerators make for a smooth flow.

Hard water (again, high mineral content) contains particulates. They can get trapped and caught in the screen of the aerator, reducing the flow. Typically, it’s a simple fix. Just unscrew the aerator and rinse it out. You may need to use an old toothbrush to clean it. Then screw it back on.

If you’re finding that the aerators are clogging up frequently, it may indicative of a bigger problem. Older homes often used galvanized piping. Those pipes may need to be flushed out to get rid of flaking debris.

Oh, and about your washing machine. Not long ago I thought I may need to call a repairman as it seemed there was a problem with it filling. I turned off the stop valves and unscrewed the hoses. The screens inside were plugged with sediment. A brush and a rinse and water flow was back to normal.

If your showerheads are flowing slowly, unscrew them and place in a bowl of white vinegar. Let it sit for an hour or so. The vinegar will dissolve any mineral build up. Give it a good rinse and you’re all set. You might want to apply some white silicone tape to the pipe threads before putting the shower head back on. This will ensure a tight fit and eliminate a potential leaky connection.


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